While you can become a victim of identity theft almost anywhere, your risk is much higher if you live in certain states or certain metropolitan areas. While you should be taking steps to protect yourself anyway living in one of these states tells you that you should be extra careful; from paying in cash more often to refusing your SSN whenever you can get away with it.
Arizona is at the top of the list, not surprising as Arizona has the highest incidence of skimming devices at the gas pumps. There is also a large elderly population, and while some seniors are as tech savvy as the next twenty-something, others are not quite so well-informed or educated and often leave themselves vulnerable. Couple that with a high incidence of illegal immigration and meth users looking for funding and you wind up with a huge problem.
Nevada rings in at number two. As one might expect, most of these cases are generated in Las Vegas. As a tourist attraction where people are dining, drinking, and gambling thieves find plenty of opportunities. To combat the problem Nevada has begun issuing driver’s licenses through a Central Issuance System that uses facial recognition technology to help detect fraud.
California weighs in as the third most vulnerable state. In California, gang members and meth addicts have found that ID theft is particularly well-suited to their needs. Credit card fraud is the most common type of ID theft in this state. Sixteen of the most vulnerable cities are in California. And it makes sense…there are plenty of people, which means lots of data to choose from. There are also a high number of illegal immigrants making their way into California who might need that data to secure employment or housing.
Texas takes the number four spot. Texas’ biggest problem is usually, year after year, employment related fraud, not at all surprising given their position on the border. Credit card fraud is also a large problem in Texas.
Colorado seems a little out of place at number 5, lacking the factors that the other 4 states share in common. However, the biggest problem Colorado has involves Corporate ID theft. The forged line of credit that cost Home Depot $750,000 is just one of the many problems that Colorado has dealt with, which makes an excellent case for business owners to be as stingy with their Tax ID number as they would be with their personal SSNs.